The Wisdom of Crowds

March 02, 2011 - by: Paul Knoch 0 COMMENTS

HR practitioner Paul Knoch reviews The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki. He finds that while the book is a bit heavy on theory and light on real-life examples, the examples that are provided are revealing and the book raises the important question of whether businesses should look beyond a small field of experts or managers when making decisions.


Remember the game-show sensation “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” Contestants vied for a prize of one million dollars by answering a series of questions correctly. The questions started out fairly easy and became increasingly difficult. When stumped, a contestant could choose from three “lifelines” for help. One lifeline removed half of the possible answers, leaving the contestant with a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly. Another lifeline allowed the contestant to call a more knowledgeable friend and ask for help. The third lifeline simply polled the audience. If you watched the show, you may recall that the audience was almost always right.

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Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

November 03, 2010 - by: Sarah Hulsey 2 COMMENTS

Sarah Hulsey, PHR, reviews Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by David Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright, finding it insightful and a must-read for HR and management at all levels.

It isn’t often that I read a business management book that I can’t stop talking about, but I absolutely loved Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by David Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright.  Over a 10-year period, the trio studied 24,000 individuals in 24 organizations, researching employee behavior in terms of the groups they form (tribes) and those who assume leadership roles (tribal leaders).  In particular, the authors wanted to find some link between the tribes and their leaders that explains how great leaders emerge, develop new skills, and leave a standing legacy where they work.

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Rework

April 21, 2010 - by: Mike Maslanka 0 COMMENTS

Employment law attorney Michael Maslanka reviews Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s book Rework, finding that the authors offer valuable lessons for changing the way your organization works.

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson is a fascinating book. It consists of around 100 chapters, each two or three pages long, with some cool illustrations. As you can tell from the title, the authors’ goal is ambitious: to change the way companies work, including HR departments. Their ideas are heretical. But as George Bernard Shaw once said, “Every truth started out as a heresy.”

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It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor

April 07, 2010 - by: admin 1 COMMENTS

Cheryl Stone, SPHR, reviews It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor: Free Yourself From the Hidden Behaviors Sabotaging Your Career Success by Rebecca Shambaugh.

In It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor: Free Yourself From the Hidden Behaviors Sabotaging Your Career Success, author Rebecca Shambaugh reminds us that even after years of awareness-raising statistics and studies, women remain grossly underrepresented in the top executive earners.  In her book, she attributes this not to the time-honored standards of the old-boy network or the invisible glass ceiling.  Rather, she blames what she calls “self-imposed career blocks” that prevent women from moving up.  She labels these collectively as a “sticky floor” and challenges women to empower themselves by overcoming these seven career-limiting obstacles.
It's Not a Glass Ceiling It's a Sticky Floor

Her concept places more control in the hands of women to get ahead.  By becoming more self-aware, developing a plan, and executing that plan, Shambaugh asserts women can shake themselves loose from the sticky floor and rise to the level of executive management.  Shambaugh leads the reader through an assessment of values and creation of a vision.  She emphasizes the importance of seeking leadership positions that are in alignment with those values and vision to achieve the greatest satisfaction.

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Gung Ho! Turn On People in Any Organization

February 17, 2010 - by: Carol Hacker 0 COMMENTS

Sarah Hulsey, PHR, reviews the book Gung Ho! Turn On the People in Any Organization by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles, finding it easy to read but more appropriate for a novice HR practitioner than the seasoned professional.

I just finished reading Gung Ho! Turn On the People in Any Organization by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles (the authors that brought you Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service).  The book recounts the story of a plant called Walton Works #2, and the imminent plant closure and layoffs of its 1500 employees.  Desperate to save the factory, General Manager Peggy Sinclair learns a new technique, called “Gung Ho,” from finishing department manager Andy Longclaw.  As Peggy learns the technique, she applies it to Walton Works #2, ultimately resulting in saving the factory, increasing productivity, and creating unbelievable enthusiasm amongst the employees.

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How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In

December 02, 2009 - by: Carol Hacker 0 COMMENTS

Corporate culture and leadership expert Gayle Watson reviews How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In, the newest book by Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t and Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies author Jim Collins.

I just finished reading Jim Collins’ new book, How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In. Collins writes that he hopes the book will equip leaders with knowledge about the stages of decline so that they may reduce their chances of falling all the way to the bottom. I particularly liked it because his research provides more evidence that values-based leadership is a differentiating factor between successful companies and those that fail.
How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins

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Instant Turnaround: Getting People Excited About Coming to Work and Working Hard

August 19, 2009 - by: 2 COMMENTS

HR practitioner Cheryl Stone reviews Harry Paul and Ross Reck’s book Instant Turnaround!: Getting People Excited About Coming to Work and Working Hard.

Looking for a way to turn around employees overnight that is easy to implement, costs nothing, and where everybody wins?  Check out Instant Turnaround!: Getting People Excited About Coming to Work and Working Hard by Harry Paul (Ken Blanchard Companies & coauthor of Fish! Tales: Real-Life Stories to Help You Transform Your Workplace and Your Life) and Ross Reck, Ph.D. (management consultant & coauthor with Paul of Revved!: An Incredible Way to Rev Up Your Workplace and Achieve Amazing Results)
Instant Turnaround

In an easy-to-read format, the authors take you through the experiences of a fictitious company that embraces a program called “Destination: Work.”  With conversational dialogue, they tell a story and challenge us to make work a place that employees want to come to on Monday morning, replacing TGIF with TGIM — “thank goodness it’s Monday” and I get to go to work!  While they acknowledge the importance of the immediate supervisor and employee relationship, by the end of the book, they place the responsibility for this program squarely on the shoulders of senior management.

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Categories: Fiction / Leadership

Who’s Got Your Back?

July 08, 2009 - by: 0 COMMENTS

Employment law attorney Michael Maslanka reviews Keith Ferrazzi’s book Who’s Got Your Back.

Author of the ubernetworking book Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time Keith Ferazzi’s latest book  Who’s Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success–and Won’t Let You Fail argues that the the value of life is in candor and honest relationships. But many people can’t get there, for reasons rooted both in our reptile brains and in corporate policies.

Who's Got Your Back? by Keith Ferrazzi
First, let’s look at the reptile brain. Ferrazzi says people maintain carefully constructed self-images and resist hearing or seeing anything that disrupts those images. Why? “Part of the reason we don’t want to hear the truth is that we have a fear that it will metastasize through our entire being . . . If I am wrong about this one thing, I could be wrong about everything!”

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Management Courage: Having the Heart of a Lion

February 11, 2009 - by: 0 COMMENTS

Cheryl Stone, SPHR, reviews Margaret Morford’s book Management Courage: Having the Heart of a Lion. She finds the book  a quick read that will be useful to human resources professionals.

In her book, Management Courage: Having the Heart of a Lion, Margaret Morford sets out six principles to guide managers through tough workplace decisions.  The principles are simple and concise:
Management Courage by Margaret Morford

1. Be painfully honest.
2. Never treat people identically.
3. Don’t use individuals or policies as a crutch.
4. Ask for and give real feedback.
5. Take the blame.
6. Leave soul-sucking situations (yes, she said “soul-sucking!”).

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Light Their Fire: Using Internal Marketing to Ignite Employee Performance and Wow Your Customers

January 28, 2009 - by: Celeste Blackburn 0 COMMENTS

Resources for Humans managing editor Celeste Blackburn reviews the book Light Their Fire: Using Internal Marketing to Ignite Employee Performance and Wow Your Customers by Susan Drake, Michelle Gullman, and Sara Roberts.

In Light Their Fire: Using Internal Marketing to Ignite Employee Performance and Wow Your Customers, employee communications experts Susan Drake, Michelle Gullman, and Sara Roberts offer case studies of internal marketing successes and failures and strategies that companies can apply to their own internal marketing programs.

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